"Everybody knows a work of art takes at least an hour!" Lucy to Linus, (Peanuts)

FineArtViews Painting Competition - Twice in the Fav 15%

http://canvoo.com/boldbrush/badge/13203 three times selected for FAV15%, Fine Art Views Bold Brush Painting Competition

Friday, January 7, 2011

Just chattering

Getting ready to transfer drawing of Samanda and Chica
"Bananas & Oranges - or Bowl of Fruit" oil 14"x18"
"Grapes in Yellow Bowl" oil 12"x12"
"Cartoon" is the word the old master's used to describe the preliminary sketch that was scaled up to size via a grid and then transferred onto the final surface the art would be painted on. They punched teeny holes all along the lines and tapped fine charcoal powder against the drawing so the particles would go through the holes and leave an impression for them to follow when painting. I use a more modern approach - enlarge my drawing on a copier and transfer it by using a special transfer paper like Saral, which comes in various colours so you can transfer onto a light or dark surface and have the drawing visible. In this case I did not spend the extra money or take the time to travel down to Campbell River to use a professional copier that makes 36" by any length you want (from a roll of copier paper) which is frequently used by blueprint makers and available at Sure Copy there. Most decent sized towns have at least one copy place that has one of these machines. When I do large paintings it is a time saver but this is just 16"x40" so I used our home copier and taped together the separate copies of each section of the drawing. I have small and also a large lightbox but here I just taped the copies to the window and lined up the drawing that way. There is always some distortion in the enlargement to be aware of and correct in the final transfer. In this case I can't use my favorite Red transfer paper since my underpainting is red so will use either white or yellow. I like a red underpainting since it enlivens the whole image even when painted over - the red shows through subtly and adds a richness.
The next two images are for one of my blogging friends, Claire Christinel, who is having some issues with making shadow colours on lemons. Shadowing yellow can turn to mud if you're not careful. Here I used a red tone for the shadow in the yellow bowl but on the right side went to the green reflected from the green grapes and to offer a cool breathing spot. In the Bananas and Oranges painting I did the same thing, alternating between the warm red tones and cool green/blue tones. I allowed a bit of burnt umber in there but not too much - always aware of staying away from mud. I went very bright red for the shadows on the oranges which I like very much, and a deep purple for the orange in front. I outlined the bananas in Cerulean Blue before painting the yellow tones. One of my favorite painters, Wayne Theibaud, does this and I remember how impressed I was with the liveliness in his work the first time I ever saw it - a portrait of a young girl sitting in a yellow dress and go-go boots - just a white background - and all this colour around the edges. That was back in the late 60's and I have often returned to that technique for my own work. Thank you Wayne! His paintings of food are scrumptious!


  1. thank you karen for sharing your process, very illuminating! and these two paintings are breathtaking! i try so hard to stay away from mud, i'll definitely refer to your methods. the results are stunning as always! beautiful work!

  2. Oh very nice. I was admiring the light and the colors on the fruit. Thanks for describing the process!

  3. Happy New Year Karen! I am loving your bowls of fruit (I can image just reaching for them to eat) and the transfer for the one you are working on. Just lovely~ I hope this finds you well. All my best, Theresa

  4. So glad I found your blog. I look forward to exploring more when time allows. Your work is beautiful!

  5. Wow! Your fruit is beautiful! You have a wonderful touch at translating natural color to the canvas. Your grapes actually have my mouth watering.

    Thanks for sharing your tips on blowing up your drawings. I've done something similar in the past, but I now use my scanner, Photoshop, and my printer to do the same thing much more accurately and efficiently. If you have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and are interested I'd be glad to share.

    Happy Creating!


  6. This has been a very informative and interesting read! Your paintings take my breath away...the color is so lively and bright. I am familiar with Theibaud and his d paintings of food...they are indeed luscious! Thank you for the tip on transferring I am going to try this method.

  7. These are really wonderful tips. Thank you. I'm taking a Renaissance oil painting class right now and and finding out how difficult it is to paint in oil vs. acrylic. I took a class in fresco making in Italy so I do know all about the cartoons and poking the holes! Hard work.

    Your fruit bowls are quite amazing. I will come back and study them more as I move along in the class.

  8. Very pleased that you all found this info useful! And Don, I am interested in your PhotoShop Elements and scanning method of sizing up drawings. I'll look for that on your blog sometime?

  9. Hi Kathrine, I've been very busy this week, so I'm just catching up with blogging now. Thanks for the great explanation of your colour handling with yellow. It's always great to hear how others handle things. I love the whole sharing process with blogging. Your still lifes like your other work are lovely. The light quality is just beautiful - and yes, that has something to do with the clean colours in your shadows!